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Stereotact Funct Neurosurg. 1999;73(1-4):1-8.

Multimodality stereotactic brain tissue identification: the NASA smart probe project.

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  • 1NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, USA.


Real-time tissue identification can benefit procedures such as stereotactic brain biopsy, functional neurosurgery and brain tumor excision. Optical scattering spectroscopy has been shown to be effective at discriminating cancer from noncancerous conditions in the colon, bladder and breast. The NASA Smart Probe extends the concept of 'optical biopsy' by using neural network techniques to combine the output from 3 microsensors contained within a cannula 2. 7 mm in diameter (i.e. the diameter of a stereotactic brain biopsy needle). Experimental data from 5 rats show the clear differentiation between tissues such as brain, nerve, fat, artery and muscle that can be achieved with optical scattering spectroscopy alone. These data and previous findings with other modalities such as (1) analysis of the image from a fiberoptic neuroendoscope and (2) the output from a microstrain gauge suggest the Smart Probe multiple microsensor technique shows promise for real-time tissue identification in neurosurgical procedures.

Copyright 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel

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